The twentieth century has been filled with various darknesses that are difficult to imagine if we have not taken part in or suffered them. Beginning with the Armenian Genocide, through the World Wars, revolution and repressions in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, wars in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Latin America, civil rights struggles in the United States, Korea, Vietnam, apartheid and repression in Africa, and the struggle for democracy in China, this collection contains more than 140 poets from five continents, spanning the entire century and its unspeakable horrors -- which is what poetry is made for: singing the unspeakable, finding ways to work the unsayable into language. Such poetry is contained here -- poetry of suffering, of anguish, of hope and promise and risk, the forming of beauty from sadness. Forche derived the inspiration to compile this from her own life and witness, and two remarkable quotations from Bertolt Brecht: ''In the dark times, will there also be singing? / Yes, there will be singing. / About the dark times.'' And, ''This then, is all. It's not enough, I know / At least I'm still alive, as you may see. / I'm like the man who took a brick to show / How beautiful his house used once to be.''
An Eighth Day View:
Bearing witness to extremity whether of war, torture, exile, or repression the volume encompasses more than 140 poets from five continents, over the span of this century from the Armenian genocide to Tiananmen Square.